Kyle Shanahan walked onto the field with an emphatic nod, believing his San Francisco 49ers had beaten the Dallas Cowboys in a chaotic wild-card finish that left many not sure what was happening.
Deebo Samuel ran 26 yards for a touchdown for a comfortable lead in the third quarter before the Cowboys rallied and ran out of time trying to get a final play in the 49ers’ 23-17 victory Sunday.
“I’m still trying to figure out where I’m at,” Shanahan said after coaching San Francisco’s first playoff victory at Dallas in a storied postseason rivalry. “It’s pretty emotional out there.”
The 49ers (11-7) overcame an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo when they led by 13 in the fourth quarter, and now are headed to a divisional playoff next Saturday night at Green Bay two years after reaching the Super Bowl and losing to Kansas City.
The wait for Dallas (12-6) to reach even an NFC championship game will tick up to 27 years after another first-game flameout in the postseason for Dak Prescott, the second in three trips over six seasons for the star quarterback. It was his first playoff game since signing a $40-million-a-year contract in the offseason.